Brett Brown recently completed his fourth season at the helm of the Philadelphia 76ers. Here’s a look at the best individual performances during this period.
The conclusion of the 2016-17 season brought an end to head coach Brett Brown’s fourth year in charge of the Philadelphia 76ers. During this span, the Sixers have compiled a 75-253 record while using a total of 64 players.
The combination of simultaneously dealing with an extremely high turnover of players and a front office focused on providing a sub par roster has made it an extremely frantic four seasons for Brown. But to his credit, Brown has fought through arguably the hardest stretch in franchise history to lead the Sixers to a 28-54 record this season.
The front office referenced here is, of course, from the Sam Hinkie era. While it provided teams capable of just 19,18 and 10 wins in Brown’s first three seasons, there is now finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
In a draft this year that is considered the best in over a decade, the Sixers will potentially hold two of the top four draft picks, primarily due to Hinkie’s wheeling and dealing. Furthermore, they are eagerly looking forward to the return to full health of budding stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
So while the future now looks bright, let’s take a look at top statistical performances from Brown’s four season’s in charge, primarily per Basketball-Reference.
Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
James Anderson: 36 Points
Despite the lack of success, it’s still quite surprising that not a single player has reached the 40-point mark under Brown. The player with the highest point total during this stretch was swingman James Anderson. Despite playing in 80 games in the 2013-14 season, Anderson lasted just one season with the Sixers.
The game in question was during a rare home victory against the Houston Rockets. Playing 44 minutes, Anderson scored 36 points on 12-of-16 shooting from field, including 6-of-8 from downtown. This represented one of two 30-point games on the season for Anderson, despite him averaging just 10.1 points per game.
Here are the highlights from his performance:
The full top six list for scoring over the past four seasons includes the following:
James Anderson: 36 points, Nov. 13, 2013
Evan Turner: 34 points, Jan. 22, 2014
Michael Carter-Williams: 33 points, Jan. 7, 2014
Joel Embiid: 33 points, Dec. 18, 2016
Joel Embiid: 32 points, Jan. 27, 2017
Dario Saric: 32 points, Mar. 24, 2017
Since Anderson’s stint in Philadelphia, he has played a total of 51 games for the Sacramento Kings, and was completely out of the league last season. Instead, he was plying his trade in Turkey.
Embiid’s presence on the list illustrates both the impact and potential he displayed during his 31-game debut season. The gradual improvement of Saric, capped by his career-best 32 points, highlights the upside the Sixers have for the years to come.
. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Ersan Ilyasova, Jahlil Okafor: 17 Rebounds
Although it freed up more playing time for rookie Dario Saric, Ersan Ilyasova’s departure midseason via trade was unfortunate on his part. Overall, he averaged 14.8 points and 5.9 rebounds during his 53-game stint. He was also able to grab 10 or more rebounds on 13 occasions as a Sixer.
For his part, Okafor’s 17-rebound performance came in the midst of an impressive rookie campaign which saw him average 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. But due to the presence of players such as Embiid and Saric, Okafor’s playing time and production took a hit last season. This game also saw Okafor record 22 points, three blocks and a +13 while on the floor in a home win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Here are the highlights of Okafor’s outstanding night on the boards:
The full top five list for rebounds over the past four seasons is as follows:
Ersan Ilyasova: 17 rebounds, Dec. 6, 2016
Jahlil Okafor: 17 rebounds, Feb. 6, 2016
Jahlil Okafor: 15 rebounds, Nov. 9, 2015
Dario Saric: 15 rebounds, Feb. 25, 2017
Henry Sims: 15 rebounds, Mar. 22, 2014
Known more for his elite offensive skills, this performance demonstrates Okafor’s overall capabilities moving forward. Furthermore, finishing twice in the top five list is highly impressive. And like Saric, Okafor made the top five in both scoring and rebounding in his rookie campaign.
Arriving in Philadelphia undrafted, McConnell has made significant progress in his two seasons in the league. This year, McConnell averaged 6.6 assists per game. After coming off the bench for his first 30 games of the season, McConnell averaged 7.6 assists per game over his remaining 51 games as a starter.
McConnell’s 17=assist performance came during a narrow road loss to the Boston Celtics. Playing 37 minutes, McConnell committed just two turnovers and was a +10 while on the floor. Overall, McConnell’s ball handling over the course of last season was exceptional, ranking fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio for players averaging at least 24 minutes per game at 3:36.
Here are the highlights of McConnell’s career-best night for assists:
The full top five list for assists over the past four seasons includes the following:
T.J. McConnell: 17 assists, Jan. 6, 2017
Michael Carter-Williams: 16 assists, Nov. 29, 2014
Ish Smith: 16 assists, Jan. 18, 2016
Michael Carter-Williams: 15 assists, Dec. 6, 2014
Michael Carter-Williams: 14 assists, Dec. 5, 2014
Not only did Carter-Williams feature in three of the top five, he appeared in seven of the top 12 assist performances. Interestingly, Carter-Williams will now be out of his contract with the Chicago Bulls. McConnell, meanwhile, is signed through until the end of 2018-19 on a very team-friendly deal.
Carter-Williams certainly filled the box score on a regular basis in his debut season in Philadelphia. In addition to leading the team in assists per game, Carter-Williams ranked third on the team in points, rebounds and blocks per game. Furthermore, he averaged 1.9 steals per game, ranking second behind only Thaddeus Young (2.1 per game).
Playing against the back-to-back NBA champion Miami Heat, Carter-Williams notched 22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and a whopping nine steals in one of the more amazing debut games in recent memory. The Sixers got off to flying start, leading 33-14 after the first quarter and managed to hang on for a 110-106 win. Furthermore, Carter-Williams was a +12 while on the floor.
Here are the highlights of Carter-Williams’ epic performance:
The full top seven list for steals over the past four seasons includes the following:
Michael Carter-Williams: 9 steals, Oct. 30, 2013
Robert Covington: 8 steals, Nov. 27, 2015
Thaddeus Young: 8 steals, Jan. 25, 2014
Thaddeus Young: 7 steals, Feb. 21, 2014
Michael Carter-Williams: 7 steals, Nov. 23, 2013
Robert Covington: 7 steals, Feb. 2, 2015
Nerlens Noel: 7 steals, Mar. 17, 2016
Carter-Williams not only appeared twice among the leaders, he accomplished this within his first 11 games in the league. From the Sixers’ current roster, only small forward Robert Covington features on the list. Last season, Covington ranked fourth in the league with 1.9 steals per game.
His career-best nine blocks came during a home loss to the Indiana Pacers. In 33 minutes, Noel also recorded 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
Here are the highlights of Noel’s block party:
The full top seven list for blocks over the past four seasons is as follows:
Nerlens Noel: 9 blocks, Feb. 20, 2015
Jerami Grant: 8 blocks, Jan. 21, 2015
Nerlens Noel: 6 blocks, Mar. 24, 2015
Nerlens Noel: 6 blocks, Jan. 30, 2015
Jerami Grant: 6 blocks, Apr. 4, 2015
Spencer Hawes: 6 blocks, Nov. 8, 2013
Jarvis Vernado: 6 blocks, Mar. 29, 2014
Noticably, no present day Sixers feature on this list. Center Joel Embiid and his backup Richaun Holmes are the only current Sixers who have recorded at least five blocks in a game. Embiid did this twice last season, while Holmes reached this mark on one occasion.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot finished the season strong following a slow start to his rookie campaign. And while he had better numbers across the board in other games, recording a +40 in a starting role as a rookie is quite unprecedented.
The game in question was a blowout, a 116-74 home victory against the Dallas Mavericks. Playing 29 minutes, Luwawu-Cabarrot posted 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. In a completely dominant game from the home side, all five Sixers starters recorded a minimum of +30 while on the court.
The highlights of the game are below:
The full top five list of plus/minus with a minimum of 29 minutes over the last four seasons is as follows:
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot: +40, Mar. 17, 2017
Luc Mbah a Moute: +34, Jan. 28, 2015
Michael Carter-Williams: +34, Jan. 28, 2015
Nerlens Noel: +34, Jan. 28, 2015
Robert Covington: +32, Jan. 16, 2015
A quirky observation here is the three players appearing from the one game, none of whom are still with the team. The game in question was an 89-69 home win over the Detroit Pistons. Only Covington remains from the starting lineup in that contest. In fact, Covington is the only player on the present day roster from that game. This is astounding, considering the game was played just over two years ago.
The other Sixers starter from that game: JaKarr Sampson, who was a +26. It was a complete contrast, with all five bench contributors recording a minus while on the floor.
Isaiah Canaan is another player who made an impact in a short period of time in Philadelphia. Acquired via trade during the 2014-15 season, Canaan played in 99 total games for the Sixers. During that stretch, he hit at least five three-pointers on nine occasions.
His eight three-pointers made were part of a 31-point, seven-rebound, six-assist performance in an overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In fact, this was just Canaan’s seventh appearance in a Sixers uniform. Overall, Canaan was 8-of-13 from behind three and was a +5 while on the floor despite the Sixers’ loss.
The full highlights of Canaan’s big night out are below:
Best Individual Performances For 2016-17 And Looking Forward
It’s always interesting to look back over recent seasons to see who has made a real impact. Considering a high percentage of the players featured on lists are no longer on the Sixers’ roster, it’s a testament to the job the coach Brown and his staff have performed with such a high turnover of players.
Here are the top individual performances for this season: